MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) – It’s been nearly six months since Samantha Bratcher went missing in Muhlenberg County. But her friends and family are not giving up hope of seeing her return.
“When a family’s loved one goes missing their life pauses they can’t go back because they’re not there,” said Scott Heltsley who is on the search crew. “You can’t go forward.”
For nearly half of a year, Bratcher’s family’s life has been on hold as they’ve been searching for her. Bratcher turned 33 on April 19 and one of her two children asked to throw her a birthday party.
“She’s like ‘Aunt Casee, Mama’s birthday is coming up,'” said Casee Ewing, Samantha’s sister. “She says ‘can we all get together and do something for Mama’s birthday?’ Those kids don’t ever ask for that much. You know, and all they want is their mama home. I figure if I could do just a little bit of something, just to let them remember their mama, it’d be worth it. We decided to celebrate her birthday and memories and let people come out and sign the birthday cards and eat cake and share stories about her.”
After six months with no answers, her family says they are certain that there has to be someone out there who knows something.
“You don’t just up and vanish off the face of the world,” added Ewing.
Scott Heltsley works for Jodi Powers Search and Rescue who has teamed up with the Muhlenberg County Sheriff’s Office on the case. He says they have received several tips in the past months.
“We have covered probably 30 miles of river,” said Heltsley. “We have an underwater camera, we’ve checked 10 or 15 wells, and miles of roadside, turnarounds, coal mine property, just about anything you can imagine between here and where she were reportedly missing from. We work with law enforcement and when they feel like something’s credible, we’ll check those areas and report back to them and give them information.”
None of the tips have brought them to Bratcher, and her family is begging for more information.
“I mean if someone would just come forward and give them something solid to go on,” said Tonya Smith, Bratcher’s mom. “So that we can find her. Instead of just the lies and the stories, just come forward and talk.”
Her two pre-teen children wrote letters and attached them to balloons that they released, hoping they would find their way to their mom on her birthday.
“Her kids need their mama,” said Ewing. “They need to know where their mama is. Whether it’s a good situation or a bad they need to know. They need closure. I mean, I lost my dad when I was 12 but I didn’t ever have to sit and wonder, where is he at? Is he ever gonna come home? Did he just up and abandon me? But that goes through those kids heads every day.”
And they are not giving up hope to bring Bratcher home.
“I mean, I’ll drive to the end of the world to pick her up if they just call,” said Ewing.
Samantha Bratcher was last seen around November 5, 2021 and was wearing a black hoodie, jeans and white Nike tennis shoes with a pink stripe. She had her left eye removed shortly before her disappearance.
If you have any tips or information, please call the Muhlenberg County Central Dispatch at (270) 338-2000 or Jodi Powers Search and Rescue at (570) 435-7871.